Vulcans do not experience fear. That is the lie that they have been telling themselves and the rest of the galaxy for centuries. Surveying the room, T'Pol recalled a quote from a human playwright, William Shakespeare, "All the world is a stage, the men and women merely players…" Well, the stage was most certainly set.
Hearing the door swoosh open, she quickly rose to bar his entrance. HIM! Tri… Commander Tucker. He had fascinated her from the first. From their very first meeting in the Captain's Ready Room, she had sensed the attraction. As a touch telepath, it was her fear of loss of control that prevented her from taking his hand that day, not the social faux pas that he presumed.
Loss of control, it was what every Vulcan feared. It was what SHE feared! The injection of Trellium D she had taken earlier threatened to undo her now. She schooled her face and posture, hoping that the Commander would not notice. "Commander", she greeted him.
Tucker's eyes narrowed, "T'Pol" he softly responded. Frustrating man! Of all the humans aboard, he alone took the time, to go out of his way to know her. Not as a Vulcan, but as an individual. His ability to see past her defenses was both endearing and alarming. Ever since their first session in Decon, she had longed to touch him, to place her hands all over his body. Her disastrous experience with Tolaris and her subsequent abuse of the Trellium not only damaged her control, it amplified her desires as well. His scent aroused her. She had studied the human databases. She wanted to touch his muscular chest, to touch his lips with hers in the human fashion. Their sessions of neuropressure had taught her much about him. Her fingers twitched, aching to contact the psi points on his face. Not for the first time she wondered, could they bond?
NO! These desires, THESE EMOTIONS! They threaten to overwhelm her. Cole was right! As she repaired the damage to the Corporal's back, Cole had looked up at her and accurately judged her response to the description of the kiss with the Commander. She was JEALOUS, and her rival KNEW it! Cole made it quite clear her intention to claim the Commander.
NO! How DARE this impertinent slip of a HUMAN challenge HER! SHE is T'POL! She is VULCAN! She is SUPERIOR! The Commander does not need just a pretty face and shapely body! She knew she met the human standards of beauty. Sim's confession revealed that. NO, the Commander, her Commander, HER Engineer, HER TRIP! He needed an equal, an intellectual, someone who could understand and appreciate his brilliance. It would take some doing, but with medical intervention, she could bear him many children. They were both relatively young, it was possible…
"T'Pol, what's wrong?"
NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! These thoughts, these emotions! They are all wrong! If she surrenders to them, she gives up everything! She gives up her Katra! She gives up what it means to be VULCAN! There are reasons that her people suppress their emotions. To unleash them unbridled would be their downfall. That is what Surak taught them so many centuries before.
No, the Corporal was right. Cole could love him as a human, to give him the affection he so richly deserved. To grant him children and family. To LOVE him openly while T'Pol must hide hers. T'Pol knew Cole was more than an adequate challenge for the Commander's affection. There really was only one choice. It was logical…
"MAKE WAY! MEDICAL EMERGENCY", bellowed Archer as he rounded the corner with Phlox. Pushing past the couple, they forced their way into the Gym. They were greeted by the defiant stare from Corporal Cole, sitting there on the workout mat. More than that, Cole was sporting a grin. No, it was more than a grin, it was a full blown triumphant smile, almost as wide as one of Phlox's.
"Report!" barked Archer to T'Pol, his penetrating glare threatening to undo her, "You claimed to have a medical emergency!" She stood even straighter, as if that were possible, her hands clasped behind her back, and met his eyes evenly. "After completing a neuropressure session to undo the damage inadvertently done by Commander Tucker during his ill-advised attempt to perform the art, Corporal Cole requested a workout session to determine if she was indeed, back to full capacity. I was demonstrating some of the more advanced Suus Manna maneuvers, and the Corporal proved to be a most adept student." T'Pol turned slightly from the Captain, her gaze becoming unfocused. "Her technique proved to be flawless. I will admit that during her last attack, she… she surprised me", her soft voice faltered, "I responded instinctively." T'Pol's voice suddenly turned icy as she turned her head toward Tucker, "And, YES, Commander. Vulcans can be surprised."
Again, they were drawn to Amanda's presence, as if hypnotized by that charismatic smile. That smile that spoke of untold stories of triumph, of victory, that despite the injury, she had won! She had beaten the Vulcan! Trip would never belong to T'Pol now! As smiles go, it was truly captivating!
Too bad the unnatural angle of the head and the rest of the Corporal's corpse slumping toward the rear wall marred the effect…